The petrol hike according to Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) represents 7.14 percent increase, while diesel has increased by 5.72 percent.
The paraffin pump price has remained at K710.50 ($1.00) per litre.
Malawi last increased its fuel products in December 2018, but Mera’s Executive Director Collins Magalasi told MBC Online that Malawians should not compare fuel prices with other countries that regulate depending on global prices.
“Malawi has been using a fuel stabilization fund that has seen fuel prices stable since December, 2018. The Fuel Stabilization Fund cannot sustain the losses made in regulating the fuel prices, so we have to hike the prices”, he said.
Magalasi said the fuel prices hike has been necessitated by two factors: the increase in petroleum products at international level, by 16.12 percent in October this year and the depreciation of the Kwacha against major currencies.
The ED said that in January 2019, when the fuel prices were last reviewed, the Kwacha depreciated by 0.30 percent. “We could have affected the fuel increase in January this year but the fuel stabilization fund cushioned the hike”, Magalasi said.
He added that Malawi wants to stabilize the prizes hence does not change prices every time global petroleum prices change.
Earlier this month South Africa reduced fuel prices and Magalasi noted that South Africa and other countries that have access to the sea have an advantage as compared to Malawi that is landlocked.
“Our prices cannot be the same with Durban because we have to transport fuel from Port Beira [in Mozambique] or Dar-es Salaam [in Tanzania] and it is costly”, the Mera boss added.
Malawi imports about 33.6 million litres per month, which translates to $366 million per annum.
Beira, the nearest route to the sea for Malawi, is 812 kilometres, while Dar es Salaam is 2 031 km from Blantyre and 1 667 km from Lilongwe.